LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday afternoon heard on legislation sponsored by Sen. Kim LaSata that would aid new farmers entering the industry and help preserve Michigan’s strong agricultural history.
“Farming has long been a staple of Michigan’s economy, and for many families, is a way of life,” said LaSata, R-Niles. “This legislation will help strengthen Michigan’s rich agricultural industry by removing some of the barriers new farmers face when starting their life as a farmer.”
Senate Bill 697 would grant a tax credit to a farmer who rents or sells an agricultural asset, including land, livestock, machinery and buildings, to a beginning farmer.
Under this bill, a beginning farmer is someone who has entered the industry within the last 10 years; devotes a majority of their day-to-day labor to farm activities; and demonstrates adequate knowledge of the type of farming in which they seek assistance. A farmer may not seek tax relief if they are related to the person who they are selling or renting an asset to.
“Starting a new business is an expensive and time-consuming venture, and unfortunately, one where many don’t see success,” said Mitch Kline, who is a first-generation farmer and representative of Michigan Farm Bureau’s State Young Farmer Committee. “What many people don’t know is the same goes for those looking to branch out on their own and start a new life as a farmer. Things like land and equipment are expensive and hard to come by.
“This legislation would help promote the future of Michigan agriculture and allow more people to pursue a career in the industry.”
LaSata agreed, acknowledging the importance of agriculture to our state and economy and added that we need to support Michigan’s up-and-coming farmers.
“Farmers typically have a lot of money, time and effort wrapped up into equipment and their operations,” LaSata said. “The goal of this legislation is to provide an avenue for farmers to use the tools and wisdom they have acquired over their lifetime to help new farmers and hand the reins to the next generation.”
The committee will continue to take testimony SB 697 in the coming weeks.
Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by either clicking on the image or visiting LaSata’s website and clicking “Photos” under the “In the News” tab.
Photo caption: Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles, testifies before the Senate Committee on Finance in support of her legislation to help aspiring new farmers in the state of Michigan. Also pictured is Mitch Kline (back right), who is a first-generation farmer and representative of Michigan Farm Bureau’s State Young Farmer Committee. Kline also testedified before the committee in support of LaSata’s legislation.